Shin Splints: Shin splints, also distinguished as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is “pain along the inner edge of the shinbone (tibia). Shin splints are habitually caused by repeated trauma to the connective muscle tissue surrounding the tibia. They are a typical injury affecting athletes who involve in running sports or other forms of physical activity, including running and jumping. Shin splints injuries are particularly located in the middle to lower thirds of the anterior or lateral part of the tibia.
Shin splints are the most common lower leg injury and affect a broad range of individuals. It affects frequently runners and accounts for approximately 13% to 17% of all running-related injuries. High school age runners see shin splints injury frequencies of approximately 13%. Aerobic dancers have also been perceived to suffer from shin splints, with injury rates as high as 22%.Military personnel enduring basic training experience shin splints injury rates between 4-8%.
Types of Shin Splints
are two regions where you can experience shin splints:
Anterior Shin Splints
Posterior Shin Splints
Anterior Shin Splints
Anterior shin splints are positioned on the front (or anterior) part of the shin bone(tibia) and include the tibialis anterior muscle. The tibialis anterior muscle lifts and lowers your foot. The tibialis anterior muscle lifts your foot during the swing phase of a stride. Later, it slowly lowers your foot to adjust your foot for the support phase.
Anterior shin pain increases when lifting your toes up while holding heels on the ground – you are seeming to suffer from anterior shin splints. Medically anterior shin splints can also be mentioned too as anterior tibial stress syndrome (ATSS).
Posterior Shin Splints
Posterior shin splints are positioned on the inside medial part of the shin bone and affect the tibialis posterior muscle. The tibialis posterior muscle lifts and controls the medial aspect of your foot arch throughout the weight bearing support phase. While your tibialis posterior is weak or lacks strength your arch collapses (overpronation), which produces torsional shin bone stresses.
If you feel pain along the inside of your shin bone – you are expected to suffer from either posterior shin splints or tibia stress fractures. Medically, posterior shin splints can also be referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).
Causes & Risk factors of Shin Splints
The pain linked with shin splints results from extreme amounts of force on the shin bone and the tissues connecting the shin bone to the muscles surrounding it. The extreme force creates the muscles to swell and enhances the pressure against the bone, leading to pain and inflammation.
Shin splints can further result in stress reactions to bone fractures. The constant pounding can cause minute cracks in the bones of the leg. The body can restore the cracks if given time to rest. Though, if the body doesn’t get time to rest, the diminutive cracks can happen in a complete fracture or a stress fracture.
Risk for shin splints
Numerous activities and physical attributes can put you at the chance of getting shin splints. Risk factors include:
- Muscle instability in the thighs or buttocks
- An anatomical deformity (such as flat foot syndrome)
- Lack of flexibility
- Running downhill
- Improper training techniques
- Running on a slanted surface or uneven terrain
- Using inappropriate or worn-out shoes for running or working out
- Running on hard surfaces like concrete
- Participating in sports that have fast stops and starts (like soccer or downhill skiing)
Symptoms of Shin Splints
People with shin splints will undergo some of the following symptoms:
- Shin splints cause a dull ache in the front part of the lower leg
- Depending on the exact cause, the pain may be located along either side of the shinbone or in the muscles.
- Pain along the inner part of the lower leg
- The area may be painful to the touch.
- Pain that develops during exercise
- Tenderness along the inner part of the lower leg
- Dullness and weakness in the feet
- Swelling in the lower leg (usually mild, if present)
See your physical therapist if your shin splints don’t respond to conventional treatment methods or if you’re feeling any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain in your shin after a fall or accident
- A shin that’s visibly swollen
- A shin that feels hot
- Pain in your shins even while you’re resting
Diagnosis of Shin Splints
Shin splints are habitually diagnosed based on your medical history and a physical examination by your physical therapist. In some instances, an X-ray or other imaging investigations such as bone scans or MRI can further identify other potential causes of your pain, such as a stress fracture.
Shin Splints Treatment
Rest- Shin splints are typically induced by overuse, conventional treatment includes several weeks of rest from the activity that created the pain. Moderate impact types of aerobic activity can be substituted while your recovery, such as swimming, an elliptical trainer or using a stationary bike.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs-Medication like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin decrease pain and swelling.
Ice– Ice is a simple and effective modality to reduce your pain and swelling. Please apply for 20-30 minutes each 2 to 4 hours while the initial phase or while you notice that your injury is warm or hot. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
Compression-Wearing an elastic compression bandage may prevent additional swelling.As you improve a Kinesio style supportive taping will benefit to support the injured soft tissue and provide some stress reduction for your shin bone.
Flexibility Exercises-Stretching your lower leg muscles may secure your shins feel better.
Supportive Shoes-Wearing shoes with good cushioning during daily activities will help decrease stress in your shins. People who have flat feet or intermittent problems with shin splints may help from orthotics. Shoe inserts can correct align and stabilize your foot and ankle, considering stress off of your lower leg. Orthotics can be custom-made for your foot.
Return to Exercise-Shin splints normally resolve with rest and the simple procedures described above. Before turning to exercise, you should be pain-free for at least 2 weeks. Keep in mind that if you return to exercise, it requirement be at a lower level of intensity.
Be sure to warm up and stretch fully before you exercise. Increase training gradually. If you commence feeling the same pain, stop exercising quickly. Apply a cold pack and rest for a day or two. Turn to train again at a lower level of intensity. Progress training even more slowly than before.
Certainly few people demand surgery for shin splints. Surgery has been performed in very severe cases that do not respond to nonsurgical treatment. It is not obvious how efficient surgery is, however.
Prevention of Shin Splints
Steps you can practice to avoid getting shin splints to include:
- Wearing shoes that fit properly and submit the good support
- Using shock-absorbing insoles
- Increasing exercise intensity gradually
- Avoiding exercising on hard or uneven surfaces
- Making sure to stretch properly
- Warming up before exercising
- Engaging in strength training, particularly toe exercises that build calf muscles
- Not trying to exercise through the pain